Young Denver Singers Win International Barbershop Youth Chorus Competition

Tampa, Fla. (Jan. 30, 2010) – 52eighty of Denver, Colo. took home the trophy today in the Barbershop Harmony Society’s third annual International Youth Chorus Festival. With 11 choruses and approximately 325 students participating from the United States and Canada, this event is the exciting culmination of the Barbershop Harmony Society’s year round effort to promote barbershop harmony to youth around the world. The Youth Chorus competition is judged by a panel of certified Society judges in three categories: music, singing and presentation.

52eighty is Denver’s newest men’s youth a cappella chorus, made up of young men from 3 prominent Denver-Metro area barbershop choruses: Sound of the Rockies, the Longs Peak Chorus and the Denver MountainAires.  There are also several non-Barbershop-Harmony-Society members and students from local high schools, colleges and universities who travel as far as Flagstaff, Arizona to participate in rehearsals.  Formed in late 2008, 52eighty’s goals are to help foster new traditions and to bring new members into the Barbershop Harmony Society through their love of music and enthusiasm for having fun while learning how to sing well.  52eighty has members as young as 13 years old.  To qualify as an official “youth chorus” they may not have members over 30.  52eighty recently won 1st place overall in the 3rd annual International Youth Chorus Contest held in Tampa, Florida in January 2010.  They were just as thrilled to take 2nd place in their first International Youth Chorus Competition in 2009 with only a 19 point margin between them and the winning chorus, the Northwest Vocal Project, from Seattle WA.  52eighty’s directors are Chris Vaughn, Lead of the 2004 International Champion Quartet Gotcha!, and Matt Swann, Baritone of the 1999 Collegiate Quartet Champion HEAT.  For more information or to support 52eighty, please visit:

The young singers competed in three age brackets with trophies awarded to winners in each of the brackets. Every individual performer received a rating pin for their participation in the singing contest.

Rounding out the winners in the three age brackets are:

  • Savannah Storm of Savannah, Ga., under the direction of Jeremy Conover (Plateau A – average age of less than 19)
  • 52eighty of Denver, Colo., under the direction of Chris Vaughn and Matt Swann – (Plateau AA – average age of less than 22)
  • Vokal Kombat of the Sunshine District, under the direction of Tony DeRose and Debbie Cleveland (Plateau AAA – average age of less than 25)

The ages of competitors range from 12 – 30, and each chorus has an average age of under 25. This event not only showcases and represents the future of vocal music in the world of barbershop harmony, but also the leadership you will soon see in each of these students’ respective communities.


About the Barbershop Harmony Society:  Founded in 1938 in Tulsa, Okla., the Barbershop Harmony Society (originally named the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America – SPEBSQSA) is the largest all-male singing organization in the world with nearly 30,000 members including 1500 quartets in 800 chapters. Another 4,000 barbershoppers are members of affiliated organizations in Australia, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Finland, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden. BHS is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee and is home to the Old Songs Library, the world’s largest privately held collection of sheet music, containing 750,000 sheets and 125,000 titles from the heyday of Tin Pan Alley. The Heritage Hall Museum of Barbershop Harmony, also located in Harmony Hall, serves as a repository for barbershop memorabilia, early recordings, costumes, research materials, and historical documents tracing the roots of the barbershop style.


About barbershop-style a cappella music:   Barbershop harmony is a uniquely American musical art form. It is known for its four-part harmony and the “expanded sound” created by its unique chord.